I have learned in my walk with Christ that the Christian life is not pain-free. There will be obstacles, pain, loss, and suffering. Sometimes it is suffering for righteousness’ sake, (Matthew 5:10). Other times it could be part of just living in a broken, decaying world. Other times for followers of Christ it could be an attack of our ancient enemy, Satan who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” (1 Peter 5:8, ESV). My main point is this… God never promises us, on this earth, to be healthy & wealthy. He does promise suffering, hardship and trials however.
The Vander Hart clan had a doozy of a day (I had better be careful since it isn’t over yet as I write this). I don’t know how to qualify this. I can say we are not suffering persecution, but I don’t know if what we face today is natural or supernatural. It doesn’t really matter though because our response will be the same.
It started last night when Cheryl suddenly fell ill. She felt dizzy and nauseous. It was so bad that she couldn’t walk, so her supervisor drove her home. When she got home she threw up which is something she never does. We prayed and sent out a prayer update to some friends on Facebook, and she later that night started to feel better. Enough so that I felt comfortable leaving to go to my Bible study at the Polk County Juvenile Detention Center. Later than night after I got back she still didn’t feel quite herself.
In the morning we had an answer to prayer, she was able to get an appointment today with her ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) doctor. He goes to our church and he did sinus surgery on Cheryl a couple of years ago. Great guy… Dr. Marshall Grieman – if you ever need an ENT and you live in the Des Moines area. Anyway they had a cancellation so they were able to squeeze her in. We were thankful that she didn’t have to wait.
Cheryl felt well enough today that she ran some errands with the kids. She calls me around lunch time to say – “the door fell off the van.” After repeating that since I didn’t think I heard her correctly. I left to go meet them at Burger King where they had stopped to get some lunch.
Just some background, the van is a 2000 Ford Windstar. Do you know what FORD stands for?
But I digress. Anyway, I have images of getting there and finding the side door lying in the parking lot. Fortunately one cable was keeping it from falling. After determining that the van was likely not safe to drive even the 3-4 miles to our mechanic we called a tow truck. You know I’m beginning to realize after this year that our decision to spend a little extra on towing insurance was well worth it.
I got a call from my mechanic later, they got the door back on, but we can’t use it anymore. The track is too worn, and it can’t be fixed. Nice. At least we have two side doors – oh wait! The other door won’t open… so now we have to get that fixed.
Back to my wife, she was feeling dizzy again and car rides were making her nauseous so I drove her to her doctor’s appointment. We thought perhaps she had an ear infection or possibly some fluid behind her ear drum. It turns out that she has Meniere’s Disease.
Meniere’s Disease (MD or endolymphatic hydrops) is a disorder of the inner ear associated with a change in the volume of fluid inside a portion of the inner ear called the labyrinth, which includes the membranous labyrinth and the bony labryinth.
When the head moves, endolymph fluid in the membranous labyrinth shifts, telling nerve receptors to signal the brain about the body’s motion. If the amount of endolymph increases, doctors believe, the membranous labyrinth can balloon or dilate. If it then ruptures, endolymph fluid can mix with perilymph fluid in the bony labyrinth, causing Meniere’s symptoms. The underlying cause of Meniere’s is still unknown, though many hypotheses have been advanced.
Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, unsteadiness, a sense of fullness in the ear, ringing in the ear (tinnitus), headache, abdominal discomfort and hearing loss, which can increase if the disease progresses. These symptoms occur in three stages of severity, as the disease advances, and can happen with varying frequency, duration and intensity. Usually, attacks are sudden and may last several hours. The very first episode may last longer than 24 hours, but subsequent episodes do not. While children can get MD, it most commonly affects men and women between 20 and 50.
Basically there is no cure. There is treatment for it though:
Treatment focuses on managing vertigo, reducing the frequency of Meniere’s attacks and, primarily, preserving hearing. Eliminating alcohol, coffee and salt may help make attacks less frequent and eliminating tobacco and stress may make them less severe. Medication can reduce symptoms, and several surgical options are also available.
But really they don’t know why it happens. Dr. Grieman ended up giving her a prescription that will basically knock her out if it gets really bad. He said it usually takes a week to feel 100%, and it comes on without warning – which makes us concerned about driving, etc.
This may not seem like it is bad to you, but this is on top of Cheryl having palindromic rheumatism, hypothyroidism, and other illnesses. We like to kid and say, “Doctors love her because she is like seven patients in one.”
So in life we get curveballs thrown at us. How are we handling this? Prayer. What else can we do? Nothing. We can rely upon Jesus who is in control of this situation. We’ll lean on Him and remember that this earth, and its trials, are nothing but a blip in light of eternity. Also we will remember that Jesus can use these curveballs in our life to develop us to be more and more like Him.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, (1 Peter 1:3-8, ESV).
We would certainly appreciate any prayer on our behalf. Thanks!